After employees of Zeitgeist saw analysis of a 28-unit development project across Valencia Street at 198 Valencia that indicated the development would cast a shadow on parts of its popular patio beer garden at peak hours, the bar initiated a review of the 198 Valencia project with the Planning Commission in December. While various reports in the meantime have pointed to Zeitgeist winning or losing that fight, eventually the bar struck a compromise with the developer to cut the ceiling height for the development's ground floor retail space from 15 feet to 10 feet. That plan was approved by the Planning Commission by a 6-1 vote according to Mission Local, and it won't affect the 28 housing units in play.
Zeitgeist general manager Gideon Bush tells SFist that he's "very happy" with the decision. "I think we found a nice balance where the city is still going to get the 28 units of new housing, which was our goal through this, and we'll get some new neighbors." The project will replace an oil change business at the corner of Valencia and Duboce. "We stand to keep the sunlight in our back yard, and it makes a big difference for sales for us," Bush concluded.
According to the Chronicle, a letter from the 310 members of the San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance that was read at the hearing regarding the development called Zeitgeist “one of the most important bars in San Francisco, hands down.” Planning's decision to make considerations for the bar is unique in that, unlike for public parks and spaces, the commission is not required to evaluate how shadows from new development affect private spaces.
Zeitgeist, known for its confluence of bikers, hipsters, techies, and some good people, too, was granted legacy business status last year. Laura Burmeister, whose family owns the 1977-founded bar, says that the the shadow analysis showed the pall cast by the adjacent development "directly overlapped with our peak sales hours."
As one bartender, Charles Hernandez, told the Chronicle, “When spring comes and the sun is shining that is when I make money and when all of us make our money.”